So it’s the twelfth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year, and lo and behold, after today there are only 12 days left till Christmas. Which kind of got us to thinking it’d be nice to come up with 12 DJ Christmas gifts.
Whether you’re buying for someone else or more likely, you’re a regular reader buying for yourself, today we’ve got accessories, books, training courses, subscriptions and software, from $9 to $299, that’ll you could – no, should – treat yourself or someone else to this year.
12 DJ Christmas Gift Ideas
1. Mixed In Key 5.0 software
Mixing in key is one of the biggest improvements to the world of DJing that digital has brought. Using Mixed In Key, it’s blindingly easy to analyse your entire music collection adding a simple code to tell you which songs are likely to mix well with which other songs musically.
You used to need a piano, six months and a load of music training to do this. Of course, you still have to trust your ears (none of the programs that can analyse key for you will automatically make you a good DJ), but this gives you a massive, massive head start.
2. Crane Standard portable DJ laptop stand
The smaller, more affordable brother to the iconic Crane Stand. Why not treat yourself (and your back) with this attractive, sturdy and gig-ready laptop stand?
While it’s only got two “states” (open or closed), and there’s no adjustment for angle and so on unlike the more expensive version, it’s nonetheless really well made, perfectly sturdy and at a good price. And Crane has built up quite a name for itself among DJs too, so it’ll get you nods of approval when you’re out and about playing.
3. TuneUp music management software
For new-to-digital DJs who may have ten years’-worth of ripped, acquired, transferred, bought and downloaded music on their hard drives and who suddenly need to tidy it all up in order to DJ confidently with it, the task can sometimes seem impossible.
Enter TuneUp, an iTunes (or Windows Media Player) helper program that can clean, add cover art, de-dupe, add title and artist info and generally wrestle the most disorganised of music collections back into some kind of usable state. It’s a great DJ christmas gift, and would make a suitable task for Boxing Day afternoon! Update: We’ve got 20% off the price below if you click our link below.
4. How To Digital DJ Fast online video training
Produced by us, this is a video course in ten parts that takes you from absolute beginner (and that means you don’t even have to have bought a controller yet), through getting the gear, setting it all up, finding the music, learning to organise and mix it, and then finally setting up at a real venue and performing your first DJ set.
We’ve sold many thousands of copies of this course in the last 12 months, and had lots of delighted testimonials from both beginners and from bedroom DJs who’ve used it to finally get in front of an audience. If you want to learn in four weeks what DJs used to need years to learn, and you like the look of the sneak preview above, it should be in your “christmas stocking” for sure.
5. Spotify subscription
For a tenner a month, this will transform the way you discover music. Treat Spotify as a huge record shop, somewhere you can explore and shortlist a large proportion of the world’s music and listen to it whenever you want. You can work on playlists, favourites and must-haves at home, at work, on your smartphone, even when you’re offline… and then just before your gig, buy only what you really need for your DJ set.
DJs should listen to more music than normal people – that’s what gives us the right to get up there and educate and entertain – and for me, Spotify is currently the single most useful tool out there. If it saves you just a handful of dodgy purchases each month, it’ll pay for itself.
6. Traktor Pro 2
Traktor is the most popular DJ software out there (three quarters of Digital DJ Tips readers DJ using Traktor). This year, the software came down massively in price and now it’s arguably worth having it even if it’s not your first choice software, especially if you’re using the excuse of buying it as a DJ Christmas gift.
Traktor has been mapped to just about every controller out there, now works with all but the oldest/most basic pro DJ gear in “real” DJ booths, and with the Remix Decks, is pushing the boundaries of what DJing is. If you’re one of the 25% who don’t use it, maybe this Christmas you should take the plunge and have a dabble.
7. OD Total Music Production online video course
Want to start to learn music production? It’s almost essential for DJs to do this if they want a career in music nowadays. But it can be really hard to know where to start. What software should you use? Do you need music production hardware? What skills do you need? Do you have to be a trained musician? How do you fit loops, samples, synths and vocal together? Isn’t this all going to be expensive?
That’s why we absolutely love OD Total Music Production, from Digital DJ Tips writer Chris Cartledge. Like our own How To Digital DJ Fast, this is an online video course that takes you from beginner to being fully versed in what it takes to make your own music. If your New Year resolution for 2013 is production, get this course.
8. Lil Namba Remix DJ bag
We’ve seen and used a lot of bags here at Digital DJ Tips, and most are pretty good. But the one we keep coming back to is the Lil Namba Remix (here’s our Lil Namba Remix review). Big enough for any controller up to about 16 x 12″ (400 x 300mm) – think Denon DJ MC2000, Vestax VCI-100, Reloop Beatmix (just), the smaller Hercules controllers – it also has room for headphones, a laptop and stand, cables etc.
What we like most about it is that it doesn’t really look like a DJ bag (great for security), it’s rigid in all the right places so it offers a lot of protection, and it’s comfortable. If you’ve got a smaller controller, this is our best recommendation for you.
9. How To DJ Right book
If you’re going to own one book on DJing, this is the one. It’s nearly 10 years old, but it is still completely relevant. It won’t teach you anything about digital DJing, but that’s the whole point: consider this your primer, your catch-up text. Plus, most of the skills are exactly the same whatever you DJ on.
Read, learn and at least appreciate everything in this book and you’ve done your catch-up, you’ve done your history, you’ve appreciated the evolution behind all those buttons and knobs on your 100% digital controller. You’re ready to push boundaries from a sound footing. I can think of no better single-volume guide to what DJing is really all about.
10. Apple iPod touch
Got to be the MP3 player of choice for DJs, especially if you’re not a smartphone user. What we like most about it (apart from the fact it’s basically an iPhone minus the phone bit) is that you can run your Spotify subscription from it (see above), and Spotify’s offline feature means you can fill it with music that you haven’t bought.
It’s the ultimate record shop in your pocket, and a massive secret weapon for the DJ who is serious about discovering great new music. And of course you can run DJ or VJ software on it too, like Algoriddim’s vjay (below), so you can even practise mixing. You’ll have to use your bought music for that though – there’s no Spotify DJ app (yet).
11. vjay for iPad, iPod, iPhone touch
Massive gadget for Christmas, especially if you have Apple TV. This truly amazing piece of software lets you DJ with music videos on an iOS device, videos that you can simply buy from iTunes. Now you can scratch, mix and loop your favourite songs with full visuals, and using AirPlay, throw the results onto your home TV and living room stereo.
It really has to be played with to be believed, and is the best example this year of how far DJing (and now VJing) has come in a really very short space of time. Wonder what 2013 will bring?
12. Learn To DJ With Virtual DJ Home online video course
If you’re curious about DJing but don’t want to spend any money on gear yet, or a lot of time learning, then this course, made by us, is for you. It shows you how – with just a simple cable you can buy for a few dollars, plus your laptop, and any old speakers and cheap headphones – you can use the amazing (and completely free) Virtual DJ Home program to learn the basics of DJing.
By the end of this course, you’ll know if DJing is for you and have a very good idea about your next move – and it will have cost you hardly anything in either time or money. What’s not to like? Especially at this price, it’s a no-brainer new DJ Christmas gift. Check out the sneak preview above…
Any stocking fillers you’re treating yourself to, expecting, or buying for someone this Christmas? Are you planning on buying one of the above? Please share your gifts, and gift ideas, below.